WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden is hosting Colombian President Gustavo Petro at the White House for talks next week, offering a high-profile visit to the leftist leader who has vowed to bring “total peace” to his nation of 50 million after six-decades of conflict.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement that Biden and Petro during the April 20 visit will discuss economic and security cooperation as well as efforts to combat climate change, counter narcotics trafficking, migration, and more.
Colombia’s government and its largest remaining rebel group - the communist-inspired National Liberation Army, known as ELN—launched talks in November shortly after Petro was elected president.
Petro has called the talks with the ELN a cornerstone of his plan aimed at resolving a conflict that dates back to the 1960s.
Some rural areas of Colombia are still under the grip of drug gangs and rebel groups despite a 2016 peace deal with the larger Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.